Friday, October 30, 2015

Ginger Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie.  Growing up, it was one of the only pies I liked. I saw this recipe for Ginger Pumpkin Pie on The Kitchn.  I adapted it a little.

Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

1 graham cracker pie crust 
15-ounce can pumpkin puree OR just under 2 cups homemade pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolk
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat oven 375°F. Bake the graham cracker crust (9 inch pie plate) for 10 minutes then remove and let cool.

Whisk the pumpkin puree with the eggs, egg yolk, and brown sugar. Skin the ginger and grate it using a fine grater.  Whisk the grated ginger, cinnamon and ginger spices, salt, and pepper into the pumpkin mixture. Add the cream and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour into the graham cracker crust.
Bake for about 50 minutes at 375°F, or just until set.
Refrigerate the pie after it is just cool to the touch. Let cool for at least two hours before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes

What I did with the last of my summer tomatoes?  I had two roma's left that I needed to use.  It was the absolute last of the fully ripe, summer tomatoes.  I wanted to do something special with them.  It is always hard to say goodbye to tomatoes.  I decided to roast up some fennel since I needed to eat and it was a 5:2 Fasting Day.  Fennel is low in calories.  This meal turned out to be roughly 200 calories.

Roasted Tomato and Fennel

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large head of fennel
1 clove garlic
2 roma tomatoes
salt and pepper

Saute the fennel in olive oil until lightly golden. Add in garlic, cook one minute.  Add in tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat it just until tomatoes have softened a little. 

About 200 calories.  Fennel is 27 calories per cup so it depends on how much you add.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Canning Applesauce

When you are given a bunch of apples.  You have only on thing to do after you say, thank you very much.  Make applesauce! Then you can have it already instead of going to the store and buying one of those watered down versions of apple sauce that they have in the store.

I don't know exactly why I have never posted my applesauce.  I have been making it all my life, as a kid and then as an adult with a family of my own.   Its one of the easiest things to can for a beginner.  There is such a high acid level in apples that it really lends itself to this type of canning.
 Aren't they beautiful?
I kept singing while I was making apples,  "God didn't make little green apples and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summer time."  Just in case you don't know what I am talking about, have a listen...


1/2 bushel of apples ( a mix of different kids is the best)*
2 cups sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons lemon juice of 1 teaspoon citric acid (kinda optional)**

Canning equipment (the usual cast of characters)
canning jars
Sometimes I leave my rings off once the jars have sealed.
Cut up apples into quarters or halves and place in a large pot.  Start it off on a low heat to get the apples heated without burning it.  Stir regularly.  Once it gets going and there is some juice on the bottom, then you can turn your heat up to medium. Or even medium high if you keep an eye on it.  Cook until tender.  Blend and pour into jars. 

Place lids on jars and screw down tops.  Place in hot water.  The water should be over the jars by an inch.  Bring to boil.  Boil for 20 minutes.  Remove from pot place on counter to cool.  Enjoy the pleasing popping sound the jars make as they seal. Before putting them away make sure lids depress to show they have sealed. I let them cool over night. Check to make sure they have all sealed in the morning by pushing down on the tops. If it pops up then it has not sealed.  Place in your refrigerator and enjoy eating it.

If you see the applesauce has seeped out a little while in the canning process, don't fret, wipe it down good after it has sealed and it is still fine to put on the shelf.

*You can start with how many apples you like.  When it is made into sauce that will give you an idea of how many pints or quarts you get out of it. 

**Citric acid or lemon juice will help keep the apples white.  It slows down that browning process. You don't have to put it in because the apples have enough acid.

I don't really use my pour spout a lot because I prefer to just wipe them down as it is faster.  In the case of applesauce, it plops into jars.  So much easier to use this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkin Empanadas

Pumpkin Empanadas. Oh, yeah!  Now, if pumpkin isn't your thing (REALLY?) then sweet potatoes could definitely be substituted.  But this is not about sweet potatoes, its about pumpkin.  I really need to write an ode to pumpkin because I love pumpkin that much.  Seriously!
This one is baked.

My daughter liked the dipping sauce but she preferred soy sauce over it.  Me and my husband went crazy for the cilantro dipping sauce.  I used this recipe here for the sauce.
This one is fried.

Pumpkin Empanadas

1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 ¼ cups sifted flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ cup cold butter – sliced
1 tablespoons cider or white vinegar
1/3 cup ice cold water

2/3 cup Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1 15 ounce package ricotta cheese
1 quart (4 cups) pumpkin, chopped and roasted*
salt and pepper

egg wash for brushing on empanadas if you plan to bake them.
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

Make dough:  With a fork stir together egg and milk.  Set aside.  In a large bowl or in a food processor, mix flour and salt.  Add pieces of butter to the flour mixture. Process or mix until flour has become clumpy or mealy.  Add in wet ingredients all at once.  Gently stir just until combined.  Gather up the dough pressing it so it is cohesive.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

In the mean time you can make the filling.

For filling: Roast the pumpkin until golden and tender.  Not crunchy.  You can puree some or all.  I did half and half.  I wanted some texture in there.  Mix the pumpkin, parsley, cumin, ricotta and salt and pepper.  Stir to combine. Finally, add the asiago.

Make the empanadas:  Take a ping-pong ball sized amount (like, a 1/4 of a cup) and roll it out to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Place filling in the center and fold the dough over it onto the other side. Be careful not to get the filling near the edges or it will not seal properly.  Crimp the edges. Place on greased sheet, brush on egg wash and bake in a preheated 350F oven.  Or fry in about a 1/2 inch of oil.  Make sure your oil is good and hot before you lay the empanadas in there.  If your oil is nice and hot it will not absorb as much oil.  Cook until golden.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Savory Red Lentil and Rhubarb Soup

I know it does not look like much.  It really is good.  If you are a lover of beans then this is your dish.  The rhubarb really picks things up with its tartness.  It makes the beans come alive.

I know mine doesn't look like soup.  I decided on leaving out the broth because I had none.  My daughter is vegetarian so throwing in some chicken broth was not an option.  I like to make my own vegetable broth- it has lots of flavor.

Besides, the kids used it like taco meat and put on some sour cream and cheese. 
Savory Red Lentil and Rhubarb Soup

1 cup red lentils
1 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, or water

Cook lentils in water with garlic powder and bay leaf until just tender.

In a larger pot sauté onion, celery and carrots until tender.  Add in rhubarb, broth, honey, garlic, salt and pepper and parsley.  (If you don't want soup then skip the broth and just add your lentils to the mix).    Let cook until rhubarb is tender.  Add in tomato paste.  Heat  one minute more.  Serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Grape Pie Filling

Grapes!  Concord grapes!  Delicious.

I was making some grape pie filling and had a half of a pint left.  I decided to put it in the fridge and knew I would figure out some way to use it.  If not by eating it with a spoon.

I had some leftover dough and decided to make a grape pizza. 
I also had some creme fraiche that I had just made.  Oh, was it a delicious combination! 
I used my regular pizza dough for this.  Recipe here.

I made creme fraiche by adding equal parts of heavy cream and buttermilk and letting it sit on the counter for 24 hours.

The grape pie filling is as follows:

Canned Grape Pie Filling
Original recipe found here at Foodie With Family.

Grape Pie Filling:

22 cups Concord grapes, washed
4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
1 cup ClearJel starch (or another brand of the same type of starch)

For the Grape Pie:
1 quart of grape pie filling
Pie pastry for a double crust
1 egg, beaten
raw sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling over the crust, optional
2 tablespoon small tapioca

To Prepare and Can Grape Pie Filling:

Working over two pots, take a grape in each hand and gently squeeze it over the first pot. Deposit the grape skins in the second pot. Continue until you have separated all of the grape pulps from the grape skins.

Place the pot with the grape pulps over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently, allowing it to boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Put the hot pulp through a food mill or pour it through a colander, pressing to get as much pulp through as possible. Pour the hot, sieved pulp over the reserved grape skins.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and Dutch Gel or Clear Gel (and citric acid, if using.) Sprinkle over the grape pulp mixture and use a big whisk or sturdy spoon to mix in thoroughly. Put the pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thick. It should thicken quickly.  Bring to a boil.

Pour into jars.  Wipe rims clean.  Place lid on jar and screw the ring in place until fingertip-tight.  Place the jars in a canning pot, they should be completely covered with water, bring to a boil and process for 30 minutes.

When the 30 minutes are up, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let the jars rest for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack or a towel on the counter. Let cool overnight before removing rings, wiping clean and labeling. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to two years.

To Make the Grape Pie:

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out half of the pie pastry and lay it gently in the pie plate so that it covers the whole plate and drapes a little outside of the top, too.

2. Add tapioca granules to the jar of filling.  Pour the jar of grape pie filling into the crust and spread it with a spatula. Roll out the second crust to just slightly larger than the circumference of the top of the pie plate. Lay it on top of the pie filling and gather the excess pastry, folding it under to form a neat edge.Make vent holes.

3. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and then sprinkle generously with the sugar.

4. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is deep brown and the filling is bubbly.

5. Transfer the pie plate to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  It will set up nicely when it is cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Peanutty Cereal Bars

These bars are good.  Too good in fact.  They may call you from your pantry and tell you to eat them. They are that kind of good.

My kids love them. 

I will say it would be very fun and delicious to put some salty sunflower seeds in these.  The salty sugar thing would amp them up even more.  Wow!

Peanutty Cereal Bars

6 cups of Rice Chex
1-1/2 cups of salted peanuts
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of light corn syrup
1 cup of peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla.

Combine cereal, nuts and set aside.  In a microwave bowl combine sugar and corn syrup.  Microwave uncovered on high for 30-60 seconds.  Stir and cook 4-5 minutes longer or until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in PB and vanilla until smooth. Pour sugar mixture over cereal and nuts and stir to coat.  Press into greased 9x 13 pan.  Put in the refrigerator or a cool place and chill until firm.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pumpkin Truffles

I could tell you that all went well with these cake pops.

But that, my friends, would be lying.  Because in fact, it went terribly wrong.

Every once in a while its good to eat a piece of humble pie.  Right? Today, was my day.  It was an EPIC fail doing cake pops.  I have never really had great luck with cake pops anyway.  I even took a class on Craftsy and  I still cant get it right.  I can never get the viscosity of the melted chocolate right.  It clumps. It sags.  I blobs. 

My kids never care because it is still delicious. 

This time though I had decided to take it to the Halloween themed retreat.  I wanted it to come out cute because I know these ladies will appreciate it.

I will say.  They are delicious, nonetheless.  I popped one in my mouth and hallelujah, at least they taste good- if nothing else.

If you want to make these.  I am quite sure you will do a better job than I because really, how much worse can they be?  Cracks and blobs galore. But I digress.  Make the pumpkin bread.  Using one of the loaves, turn on a beater and mix it with cream cheese that has been brought to room temperature. Blend until there is no white showing.  Grab some with a scoop or with your fingers and ball it up.  Roll it into a nice smooth ball.  Freeze the balls.  Melt your dipping chocolate and dip them in. Decorate with pretzel sticks and piping.

Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2/3 cup water
1 15 ounce can pumpkin

Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of two 9x5x3-inch, three 8x4x2-inch, or four 7-1/2x3 1/2-x2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add flour mixture and water alternately to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

Nutrition Facts (Pumpkin Bread) Per serving:
191 kcal cal., 8 g fat (1 g sat. fat, 27 mg chol., 197 mg sodium, 29 g carb., 1 g fiber, 18 g sugar, 2 g protein

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


One of the BEST dinners I have made.  I REALLY enjoyed this. The recipe comes from The Domestic Geek

I did my recipe a bit different due to what I had in my house and my tastes.  Next time I would love to add some cilantro.

All of it lip smacking goodness!
Yup, made it again.  This time with mangoes.  So good!


1 cup rice
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil (may be needed)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped
2 green onions, chopped thinly
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tablespoons tamari
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 package mock crap chunks.

Cook the rice as normal but instead of adding just water, add half coconut milk and half water.

While the rice is cooking.  Cook mock crab chunks in butter.  Set aside when warmed.  In that same pan, cook bell peppers until tender.  Add in some oil if needed. Add in pineapple, heat until warmed through.  Add in garlic and ginger and heat until fragrant.  Add in the cooked rice.  Add in tamari and sriracha.    Sprinle with chopped green onions.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Gorgonzola, Pear and Walnut Pizza

Time for the Autumn shift in food.  Apples, pears, butternut squash, pumpkin.  Oh, I love it.  I love everything about Fall.  Putting on a sweatshirt, curling up with a blanket.  Swoon.  It's my favorite time of year. 
Today, I made some little pizza's and had some Raging Bitch Beer.  Believe me, yesterday it was totally apropo. It did not calm me down in the least.  But, hey, me and my hormones is not what this post is about. Its about food.

Yesterday, I had this beer with some roasted cauliflower that had this amazing Maple Dill Dressing.  Sadly, I can not give you this recipe.  It was developed by a chef at a lodge where I go for retreat.  Her and the lodge are seeking a patent at this time.  I have to tell you, this stuff rocks. 
Anyway Raging Bitch beer was everything she promised to be.  She's a very bitter woman.  My taste buds were not happy about it.  I drank half of it and put it away for another day.

So, today when I made my Gorgonzola, Pear, Walnut Pizza, I decided to give her a try again.  With the bold flavors of my pizza, it paired so nicely.  I really enjoyed the Raging Bitch tonight.  And I tell you, it was much calmer around here.

I made two small pizza's. After making my little round, I added two tablespoons of gorgonzola and half of a pear and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts.

Baked at 475F for about ten minutes.

Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, Kosher salt and arugula.  


Thursday, October 1, 2015

New England Apple Cake


My mother found this recipe years ago and has made it every year in the fall ever since.  It is really a moist and delicious cake. Prune puree was big in the 90's and it kind of went out of fashion.  It is still very delicious but I don't know if you can find jars of it anymore.  Maybe the baby food aisle.  Or you can easily puree your own.  Add a little water to get it going.  Not too much though. I have used my canned plums as well.

New England Apple Cake

I guess the original recipe is by Geneva Hultenius. You will find the cake seems very dry in the mixing stage.  Doesn't seem like it has enough wet ingredients but it does.  The apples moisten everything as it bakes.

1 cup sugar (I use 3/4 of a cup)
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup prune puree*
1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2teaspoon salt
2 cup chopped apples
1/2  cup chopped walnuts

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8- X 8-inch square pan and put aside. In large mixing bowl combine sugar, egg, butter and prune puree. Mix on high speed for 2 minutes. Fold in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix just until flour is moist. Fold in the chopped apples and walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of cake batter with the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack.

Nutritional information per serving: 240 calories; 4 g fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 240 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein

* Prune puree: Combine 1 1/3 cups (8 ounces) pitted prunes and 6 Tbs hot water in container of food processor, puree until smooth. Makes 1 cup. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 months in a tightly sealed container.